Alistair Overeem and Alexander Volkov are set to take the spotlight of the MMA world on Saturday evening. The high-ranked heavyweights are currently booked to headline a UFC “Fight Night” card from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
Follow along throughout the evening for live coverage of the event
A preview of the show can be viewed here.
Preliminary Card (5:00PM EST / 2:00PM PST) (ESPN+ / TSN 5)
Bout 1: Ode Osbourne def. Jerome Rivera via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 0:26)
Bout 2: Timur Valiev def. Martin Day via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 3: Seung Woo Choi def. Youssef Zalal via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 4: Lara Procopio def. Molly McCann via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 5: Karol Rosa def. Joselyne Edwards via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 6: Devonte Smith def. Justin Jaynes via TKO, Doctor Stoppage (RD 2, 3:38)
Main Card (8:00PM EST / 5:00PM PST) (ESPN+ / TSN 5)
Bout 7: Danilo Marques def. Mike Rodriguez via Submission, Rear Naked Choke (RD 2, 4:52)
Bout 8: Beneil Dariush def. Diego Ferreira via Decision, Split
Bout 9: Alexandre Pantoja def. Manel Kape via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 10: Clay Guida def. Michael Johnson via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 11: Cory Sandhagen def. Frankie Edgar via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 0:28)
Bout 12: Alexander Volkov def Alistair Overeem via TKO, Strikes (RD 2, 2:06)
Bout 12: Alistair Overeem (47-18) vs. Alexander Volkov (32-8) (Heavyweight)
Volkov Puts Together Punches To Stop Overeem In The Second
Alekander Volkov earned an important win on Saturday, stopping Alistair Overeem in the second round of a main event with punches.
Overeem got dropped in the second round by a two-punch combination from Volkov. As the way Overeem fell showed that the strikes he consumed clearly hurt him, the referee was quick to intervene before Volkov could land any more strikes. The finish came after Overeem clearly got hurt by strikes and showed the damage for it on his face earlier in the round.
Volkov had a strong first round as well, out-striking Overeem in the five-minute frame.
The fight stopped the momentum that Overeem had built in 2020. The multi-decade MMA veteran had two main event wins last year, stopping Walt Harris and Augusto Sakai with strikes.
Volkov’s previous win was also a stoppage victory, defeating Walt Harris in October. Volkov is now on a two-fight win streak and is looked at as one of the top heavyweights in the division.
Bout 11: Cory Sandhagen (13-2) vs. Frankie Edgar (24-8-1) (Bantamweight)
Sandhagen Freezes Edgar With First-Round Flying Knee KO
Cory Sandhagen had a flashy win in the co-main event, flooring Frankie Edgar in the opening minute with a flying knee knockout.
The win continues Sandhagen’s run high up in the bantamweight division and hands Edgar his first loss since moving down to the division.
Despite the flashy style of his knockout, the footage of the knockout elicited a mixed reaction from Sandhagen afterwards.
“That’s Frankie Edgar. I don’t wanna watch that happen to him,” said Sandhagen in his post-fight interview.
Edgar was down and not moving following the stoppage. He was able to return to his feet under his own power before leaving the cage.
Sandhagen has now won two consecutive fights. His previous fight was a main event stoppage win against Marlon Moraes, who stopped the fight with a spinning back kick.
Edgar won his bantamweight debut in his previous bout, defeating Pedro Munhoz via split decision after five rounds.
Bout 10: Michael Johnson (19-16) vs. Clay Guida (35-20) (Lightweight)
Guida Returns To Win Column With Decision Over Johnson
UFC veteran Clay Guida added yet another win to his lengthy MMA career, defeating Michael Johnson via unanimous decision on the main card (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27). Guida’s high-energy style of striking and takedown attempts kept Johnson on the defence for a large portion of the fight.
After his win, Guida made it clear he wants to fight someone who an “up-and-comer.”
“Maybe we can get someone that doesn’t have 20 UFC fights,” said Guida in his post-fight interview.
Guida snapped a two-fight losing streak that he collected in the past two years.
Johnson is now on a four-fight losing streak.
Bout 9: Alexandre Pantoja (22-5) vs. Manel Kape (15-4) (Flyweight)
Kape Given Decision Loss In UFC Debut Against Pantoja
Alexandre Pantoja spoiled the UFC debut of former RIZIN Bantamweight Champion Manel Kape on Saturday, defeating him via unanimous decision after three rounds (29-28, 29-28 & 30-27).
Pantoja had the better striking early in the fight, throwing combinations and connecting with clean leg kicks while Kape kept a slower pace. Pantoja continue to out-land Kape with strikes in the second round. Kape started to pursue takedowns late in the round.
The third round had a wild finish, as Kape scored takedowns and both fighters upper their output of strikes.
Pantoja returned to the win column with his victory on Saturday. His previous fight was a loss to Askar Askarov in July of 2020.
Kape entered the UFC after a three-fight win streak in Japanese MMA promotion RIZIN. He had two cancelled UFC bookings before getting his fight on Saturday.
Bout 8: Diego Ferreira (17-2) vs. Beneil Dariush (19-4-1) (Lightweight)
Dariush Moves Win Streak To Six, Defeats Ferreira In Split Decision
Beneil Dariush continued his lightweight campaign on Saturday, defeating Diego Ferreira in a split decision (29-28 Ferreira, 29-28 Dariush & 29-28 Dariush). The win for Dariush showcased his striking and grappling skills through all three rounds.
The first round provided viewers with fast-paced striking where both lightweights connected with shots. Ferreira was seemingly hurt halfway through the round after Dariush connected with a knee to the body.
Dariush was able to neutralize Ferreira throughout the second round by scoring numerous takedowns.
Ferreira was able to mostly avoid takedowns in the final round, forcing Dariush into explosive striking exchanges on the feet. Both fighters were landing significant shots during combinations.
Dariush is now on a six-fight win streak. The fight on Saturday was the first time Dariush went to the third round in four fights.
Dariush said afterwards that he felt “disrespected” that he wasn’t given a top five fighter in the lightweight division and that he thinks Ferreira deserved a top five opponent as well.
Ferreira had a six-fight win streak snapped with the loss.
Bout 7: Mike Rodriguez (11-5) vs. Danilo Marques (10-2) (Light Heavyweight)
Marques Secures Rear Naked Choke To Stop Rodriguez
Danilo Marques earned his first UFC stoppage win on Saturday, catching Mike Rodriguez late in the second round with a rear naked choke.
The submission win for Marques came after a smothering performance where he kept on Rodriguez and landed takedowns. The fight was stopped after the referee noticed Rodriguez went unconscious.
Marques now has two UFC wins. He won his UFC debut in 2020, defeating Khadis Ibragimov at UFC 253.
Rodriguez is now on a two-fight losing streak. His previous bout was a stoppage loss to veteran Ed Herman.
The win for Marques kicked off the main card. While the fight was first scheduled for the prelims, it was bumped to the main card after a fight between Cody Stamann and Askar Askar was removed from the card.
Bout 6: Justin Jaynes (16-6) vs. Devonte Smith (10-2) (Catchweight 160 lbs)
Doctor Stoppage Earns Smith Return Victory
Severe swelling on the left eye of Justin Jaynes caused an unceremonious end to a fight in the second round, giving Devonte Smith a win in the final fight of the preliminary card.
Smith put together a strong performance prior to the doctor stoppage. The second round in particular saw Smith do work on the ground, landing strikes and attempting a rear naked choke.
Smith was happy that he got to show his skills on the ground.
“To be able to showcase my ground skills, it feels good,” said Smith in his post-fight interview.
The fight was Smith’s return to action. His previous fight, a stoppage loss against Khama Worthy in 2019, was his first loss in the UFC. Smith had two finish wins prior to the loss.
Jaynes stepped up to take the fight on Saturday night, taking the place of Alex da Silva. The fight was moved up to a catchweight of 160 pounds because of Jaynes’ short-notice entrance into the bout.
Jaynes is now on a three-fight losing streak. His last win was his UFC debut against Frank Camacho in June.
Bout 5: Karol Rosa (13-3) vs. Joselyne Edwards (10-2) (Bantamweight)
Rosa Picks Up Decision Win Against Edwards
Karol Rosa earned her third UFC victory on the prelims, sweeping scorecards against Joselyne Edwards (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27).
While both fighters showcased sharp striking on the feet, Rosa had a clear edge on Edwards with takedowns and grappling. Rosa put down a few minutes of control time throughout the fight and held her own during hectic striking exchanges on the feet with Edwards.
Rosa entered the fight following wins in her two previous bouts. She previously competed in July of 2020, where she won on scorecards against Vanessa Melo.
Edwards made her UFC debut just last month, stepping in on short notice to defeat Wu Yanan. Edwards picked up a decision win in the fight, making her the first Panama-born woman in the UFC to win a fight.
Bout 4: Molly McCann (10-3) vs. Lara Procopio (6-1) (Flyweight)
Procopio Defeats McCann In A Unanimous Decision, Earns First UFC Win
Lara Procopio used clinching and takedowns to win on scorecards against Molly McCann on the prelims (29-27, 29-28 & 30-27).
Procopio kept on McCann through all three rounds, landing numerous takedowns and keeping McCann down.
McCann’s best moment was on her back in the second round, where she threatened Procopio with an armbar attempt.
Procopio was returning after losing her UFC debut to Karol Rosa in 2019.
McCann left her MMA gloves in the cage following the fight, a gesture in MMA that usually implies a retirement. McCann cleared things up afterwards, clarifying that she is not retiring.
“I left the gloves in the cage for my dad. There’s still fight in this old dog yet,” said McCann via Twitter.
McCann was also returning after a loss, as her previous fight saw her lose on scorecards to Taila Santos.
Bout 3: Youssef Zalal (10-3) vs. Seung Woo Choi (8-3) (Featherweight)
Choi Picks Up Scorecard Victory In Return
Seung Woo Choi picked up a win in his return, defeating Youssef Zalal via unanimous decision on the prelims (29-28, 29-28 & 30-27). Choi kept the pressure on Zalal throughout the fight to be given the winning rounds.
Choi had a good finish to the first round, coming forward with strikes and landing a takedown just before time expired. Choi spent a large portion of the second round looking for a takedown.
Zalal had Choi in trouble late in the fight, as he looked for a triangle choke while on his back.
Choi was returning after over a year outside of the cage. His last fight was in December of 2019, where he took a decision win over Suman Mokhtarian.
Zalal entered the fight following a busy 2020. Zalal started his UFC run off with a hot streak of three wins. That streak was stopped in November by Ilia Topuria, who won on scorecards.
Zalal took the fight on just over a weeks notice. It was reported that Choi was matched with two previous opponents before Zalal stepped up.
Bout 2: Timur Valiev (16-2) vs. Martin Day (8-5) (Featherweight)
Valiev Uses Takedowns To Control Day, Earn First UFC Win
Timur Valiev showed his grappling skills on the prelims, controlling Martin Day through three rounds for a unanimous decision victory (30-25, 30-25 & 30-26). The win was Valiev’s first win since joining the UFC roster last year.
After attempting to get a takedown for a minute or so in the first round, Valiev eventually brought Day down and kept him there for the rest of the round.
Valiev was much quicker to get a takedown in the second round, scoring one in the opening minute. He kept active with punches on the ground for nearly all five minutes of the round. The final round was much like the third, as Valiev scored two takedowns that kept Day on his back.
Valiev’s previous fight was an upset loss to Trevin Jones, however, a drug test to Jones from the Nevada Athletic Commission that found marijuana caused the result to be overturned to a no contest.
Day is now on a four-fight losing streak that includes two stoppage losses in 2020. Day was a short-notice replacement on Saturday for Julio Arce.
Valiev called for a fight against Arce at bantamweight following his win.
Bout 1: Ode Osbourne (8-3) vs. Jerome Rivera (10-4) (Featherweight)
Osbourne Lands One-Punch KO For First UFC Victory
Ode Osbourne needed just one punch to stop Jerome Rivera in the opening bout of the card. Avoiding a head kick from Rivera, Osbourne landed a left cross that floored Rivera in the opening minute, ending the fight.
The win was Osbourne’s first since joining the UFC.
“I dreamt about this for a long time … I lost sleep over it,” said Osbourne in his post-fight interview.
Osbourne’s previous fight was his UFC debut in January of 2020. The appearance last year saw Osbourne get stopped with a guillotine choke by Brian Kelleher in the first round.
Rivera’s two previous UFC fights resulted in losses.
Rivera was making a quick turnaround in the fight, as he had competed just weeks before against Francisco Figueiredo. He took the place of Denys Bondar, who withdrew from the fight earlier in the week.
Both fighters had previously fought at flyweight and bantamweight, although they made the move up to featherweight for this bout due to the short notice nature of it.
Askar Removed From Short-Notice Fight
News broke on Saturday morning that Askar Askar was removed from his bout against Cody Stamann. UFC announced the change, mentioning that Askar was not medically cleared for the fight.